Sunday Plus

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Plus is a bright and upbeat weekly bulletin for today’s Catholic. Covering a multitude of topics, Plus helps readers engage their faith with the often challenging reality of day-to-day life. Written in a popular style, yet underpinned by solid pastoral theology, Plus is ideal for all Catholics who wish to make their experience of faith truly transformational.


Current themes



Daniel Kearney accompanies his mother on her last journey. Tired and grieving, he tries hard to stay awake, to say the things to her he never said. In the end it was the best words that got said: “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Katie Knight likes to star-gaze and this time of the year is perfect for seeing meteor showers. Fr Freddie McGhee remembers journeys from his childhood: that sense of anticipation, the waiting, the arrival, the sense of accomplishment. We have arrived from where we started.



The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent is about John the Baptist “preparing the way for the Lord”. A missionary herself, Sr Janet Fearns sees a parallel with the White Fathers, the missionaries to Africa, who braved the dangers and vastness of Zambia to bring the good news. Daniel Kearney, waiting for his Christmas shopping to be delivered, remembers Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, who endured years of longing for a child, the humiliation and disappointment, to find her patience and goodness rewarded. Katie Knight thinks about hunger – real hunger. Most of us don’t know what that really feels like. But we may also “hunger” for the birth of Jesus: but how truly hungry are we?



On 17 December Paul Higginson thinks about preparation: for Christmas and its accompanying practical arrangements; but also the bigger picture. As John the Baptist asked, “Who are you?” Eileen Cole takes this theme too and bids us be precursors of his light by bringing other souls to Christ. Sr Janet Fearns recalls the woodland and forest fires of the summer but finds, as always, that given time and a little rain, things regenerate. Like John the Baptist in the wilderness, a new dawn is heralded.



For Christmas Eve, Paul Higginson thinks about royal births then and now, and the ways they are announced, the level of richness and pomp. The way Jesus’ birth was announced set the pattern for his life to come, encountering ordinary people in ordinary situations, turning their lives upside down. Eileen Cole listens again to Zechariah’s song of praise and thanks for his son, John, echoed centuries later by our Christmas song in church. Fr Eddie McGhee thinks about angels and the way art has depicted them - and their wings. But we know that as God’s messengers we have no need of wings.


Second chances

For our last Sunday of the year, Fr Denis McBride looks at Luke’s Gospel and the telling of the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. We meet Simeon and Anna, and hear Simeon’s prophetic words and blessing of the baby. Katie Knight picks up the theme of Jesus in the Temple and wonders how Mary took Simeon’s and Anna’s words. Mgr Roger Reader, Prisons Adviser for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, reflects on what Christmas Day is like for prisoners and their families, as no visits take place. As well as praying for prisoners, don’t let us forget their families, who also suffer.



Who puts your newsletter together?

The editors of Sunday Plus are Redemptorist priest and Biblical scholar Denis McBride, and Sr Janet Fearns, a Franciscan Missionary of the Divine Motherhood.

denis mcbride

Denis McBride

Before taking up his position as Director at Redemptorist Publications, Denis directed courses of study and personal renewal for priests, religious, and lay people at Hawkstone Hall. His principal areas of interest and writing have been the human story and the Gospels. You can find out more about Denis on his website.

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Sr Janet Fearns

Sr Janet lived and worked in Nigeria, Australia, Zambia and Rome as a teacher, nurse, midwife and radio broadcaster before coming to Redemptorist Publications. She has a passion for history and says that "writing is like breathing".

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